Smyrna woman pleads guilty in fatal poisoning of husband

Jamie L. Baker

DOVER — A 47-year-old Smyrna woman is facing 15 years to life in prison for her husband’s poisoning death in 2013.

Jamie L. Baker pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Kent County Superior Court on Monday morning during an appearance of less than 10 minutes. She will be sentenced on March 30. An adulteration charge was not prosecuted further.

With Baker’s family members on one side of the courtroom and an equal number of the late James D. Baker Jr.’s on the other, the defendant indicated to Judge Robert B. Young that she understood the ramifications of her plea and made it willingly.

The late Mr. Baker’s family declined to comment afterward, as did the Delaware Department of Justice.

A pre-sentence investigation was ordered which will include a determination of possible restitution. A no-contact order was also established.

Baker acknowledged that a felony guilty plea takes her right to vote, serve as a juror, hold public office or possess a deadly weapon.

After investigation into Mr. Baker’s death began on Sept. 16, 2013, Delaware State Police arrested his spouse on March 13, 2014. A Grand Jury indictment followed on Aug. 4, 2014.

The sequence began as police and medical personnel were called to a residence in the 2000 block of Mount Bryn Zion Road for a death investigation, authorities said at the time.

Police said the late Mr. Baker, 42, was found by his wife dead in the bedroom.

When announcing the arrest, police said pills, syringes, and a box containing several bottles of liquid steroids were collected as evidence.

After transport, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy that ruled the manner of death a homicide by poisoning.

The coroner determined that the deceased’s kidneys contained a substance suspected to be Ethylene Glycol, a chemical found in ant-freeze. The bottles of steroids were examined in a laboratory and found to contain Ethylene Glycol, police said.

Further investigation found that Mr. Baker ordered the steroids online in June 2013 and had them delivered to a friend, police said. According to detectives, the friends divided up the bottles and Mr. Baker locked his in a toolbox located in a closet in his home.

Police listed the date of the crime occurring between June 3, 2013 and Sept. 16, 2013.

A search warrant was executed  on March 13, 2014, and according to police, “Baker was contacted at the residence and eventually provided information that she had used a hypodermic syringe to extract anti-freeze from a container that was stored in the garage.  Once she gathered the chemical, she injected several bottles of the steroids.”

Original charges included first-degree murder and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony. Baker has been held at Delores J. Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in New Castle.

Deputy Attorneys General Jason Cohee and Nicole Hartman prosecuted the case, with attorneys J’aime Walker and Susanne MacPherson-Johnson representing Baker.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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